Friday, April 28, 2017

The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

book cover
The PlantPure Nation Cookbook
by Kim Campbell

ISBN-13: 9781940363684
Paperback: 319 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books
Released: March 24, 2015

Source: Bought through Amazon.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The PlantPure Nation Cookbook brings the powerful, science-based approach to nutrition from the movie to your kitchen with some of the same mouthwatering recipes that kick-started the revolution, promoting the health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet.

Author Kim Campbell is the wife of PlantPure Nation Executive Producer and Director Nelson Campbell and daughter-in-law of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, coauthor of The China Study and father of the modern plant-based nutrition movement. She is also a culinary contributor, recipe developer, and cooking instructor at Campbell Wellness, a health and wellness business. In PlantPure Nation Cookbook, she shares more than 150 extensively tested, 100% plant-based recipes that she has created and cultivated over 25 years of vegan cooking.

With a foreword by Dr. Campbell, The PlantPure Nation Cookbook is also filled with tips, tricks, and grocery lists for people interested in a whole food, plant-based diet.

My Review:
I've now tried about 15 of the recipes from the The PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell. All of them turned out well and were so tasty that I didn't miss the meat, dairy, eggs, or added fat. My dad, who enjoys meat, agreed to go vegan for 10 days to lower his cholesterol. He discovered that he enjoyed these recipes so much that he's willing to eat them whenever we make them. So we decided to buy the author's other cookbook.

The PlantPure Nation Cookbook is a whole food, plant-based (vegan) cookbook containing 150 recipes. Again, this would be a good cookbook for someone new to cooking vegan meals from scratch. The author provided cooking tips and most of the recipes were pretty simple to do. She does use gluten-containing grains and tree nuts in some recipes.

The author described plant-based substitutes so you can convert regular recipes. There were also short educational articles (usually relating to the movie) at the end of most sections.

There were pictures of the finished product for each recipe, and they looked very tasty (which I can't always say about vegan foods). I've made several of these recipes now, and they're as tasty as the recipes I've tried from her other cookbook. They're full of flavor and have nice textures. There are times I think "that combination of foods doesn't sound yummy" yet it always turns out well. Overall, I'd recommend this cookbook to those interested in adding more whole-food, plant-based meals to their diet.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What Regency Women Did For Us by Rachel Knowles

book cover
What Regency Women Did For Us
by Rachel Knowles

ISBN-13: 9781473882249
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books
Released: April 30, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Regency women inhabited a very different world from the one in which we live today. Considered intellectually inferior to men, they received little education and had very few rights. This book tells the inspirational stories of twelve women, from very different backgrounds, who overcame often huge obstacles to achieve success. These women were pioneers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, authors, scientists and actresses women who made an impact on their world and ours. In her debut non-fiction work, popular history blogger Rachel Knowles tells how each of these remarkable ladies helped change the world they lived in and whose legacy is still evident today.

My Review:
What Regency Women Did For Us provides short biographies for 12 women who were remarkable in their time and who lived during the Regency period. They included business women, scientists, authors, an inventor, and women who used their money to help others.

For each woman, we learned a bit about their childhood, their adult life and career, their later life, how others described them, and their legacy. Some still have a wide, lasting impact (like Jane Austen), but others don't. Eleanor Coade, for example, ran a successful artificial stone business and some pieces made from this stone still exist. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting read to fans of short biographies.

Eleanor Coade (1733-1821) - business woman
Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) - astronomer
Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) - actress
Marie Tussaud (1761-1850) - business woman
Mary Parminter (1767-1849) - traveler, mountaineer, philanthropist
Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) - author
Jane Marcet (1769-1858) - author
Sarah Guppy (1770-1852) - inventor
Jane Austen (1775-1817) - author
Harriot Mellon (1777-1837) actress, business woman
Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) - reformer, nursing
Mary Anning (1799-1847) - fossilist

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Truth About Vaccines Docu-series

Maybe you've heard some about parents who are delaying or refusing to vaccinate their children. When in the news, they're generally portrayed as anti-science, anti-reason, and endangering not only their children's health but everyone else as well. It's a "don't listen to them; only stupid people would" tactic that I'm seeing more and more often, which now makes me want to listen to the people dismissed that way. I mean, we all want what's best for our children; they must have reasons that seem very compelling to them. It makes sense to really listen to those concerns and see if they're good ones.

So I've been watching this well-made docu-series, The Truth about Vaccines. It's for people wanting to understand the concerns about vaccines. The host did a good job of arranging the material and clarifying the concerns so the viewer can follow and understand them. And, frankly, I'm finding it heart-breaking to watch.

Parents should be told about these things before their children are vaccinated, but we're simply told that vaccines are safe and have saved the world from deadly diseases. Well, they're clearly not safe. The question is if they're worth doing anyway. Some of the doctors interviewed believe that some of the vaccines are worth doing, but not on the CDC schedule. Even they question vaccines like the HPV, which sound good but end up doing more harm than good.

I really should have told people about this series sooner. I suspect they'll still have a day where you can access missed episodes, and the first two episodes give a great overview of the arguments. But I'd highly recommend watching what you can, even if you only can access the later episodes. Here's the link to sign up for a free, limited-time viewing:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Law and War by Jonathan Swan

book cover
Law and War
by Jonathan Swan

ISBN-13: 9781473853379
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Released: March 30, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Within days of the outbreak of hostilities of the Great War, the English government introduced the Defence of the Realm Act. With several amendments over the years, this all-encompassing legislation resulted in the creation of hundreds of subsidiary regulations, many of which affected the lives of ordinary people in a way they had never expected.

Many, including the magistrates themselves, fell foul of the myriad orders, covering billeting, licensing, lighting and rationing, which were enforced by the new special constables. At the same time, the conscription of the criminal classes saw a huge fall in the normal workload of the courts and the closure of many prisons.

The magistrates responded as best they could. Some magistrates went to war; some lost their lives. Others served in the many voluntary organisations and committees that appeared across the country, such as the Military Service Tribunals or the Volunteer Corps.

The end of the war saw a further change to the old order when the first women magistrates were appointed, marking the birth of modern magistracy.

My Review:
Law and War looked at the many challenges faced by England's magistrates during the Great War as many new laws--often poorly worded or not well thought out--were put into affect. The author explained how things worked before the war and then during the war. He included a detailed overview of how the legal system worked prior to the war, which I found especially useful since I'm not from England.

The author quoted the laws (in part or in full) and described some court cases showing how people accidentally or deliberately broke those laws. He talked about military law and martial law, the Defense of the Realm Act, laws about billeting, enemy aliens, drunkenness and alcohol, lights showing at night, enlistment and exemptions, desertion and absent without leave, food prices and rationing, and laws specifically affecting women and children. He also briefly talked about fraud, special constables, and a few other issues.

I thought the book was going to be more about how the role of magistrate changed because of the war, and he did cover this. However, most of the book looked at the laws that were passed and how they affected people. The information was interesting, so I'd recommend this book to people interested in this aspect of WWI.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Another World by Patricia Mainardi

book cover
Another World
by Patricia Mainardi

ISBN-13: 9780300219067
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press
Released: March 14, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Taking its title from the 1844 visionary graphic novel by J. J. Grandville, this groundbreaking book explores the invention of print media—including comics, caricature, the illustrated press, illustrated books, and popular prints—tracing their development as well as the aesthetic, political, technological, and cultural issues that shaped them.

The explosion of imagery from the late 18th century to the beginning of the 20th exceeded the print production from all previous centuries combined, spurred the growth of the international art market, and encouraged the cross-fertilization of media, subjects, and styles. Patricia Mainardi examines scores of imaginative and innovative prints, focusing on highly experimental moments of discovery, when artists and publishers tested the limits of each new medium, creating visual languages that extend to the comics and graphic novels of today.

Another World unearths a wealth of visual material, revealing a history of how our image-saturated world came into being, and situating the study of print culture firmly within the context of art history

My Review:
Another World looked at developments in printing technology in the 1800s (like lithography) and how this promoted the development and popularity of caricature, illustrated magazines, comics, illustrated books, and popular prints. The author mostly talked about developments in France and England.

The author looked at the early experiments in these forms, like how the format and graphic language of comics developed as various authors/illustrators tried new things. He also talked about the first people to make illustrated magazines, comics, etc., and the challenges they faced. He talked about who bought these prints, magazines, etc., and what people thought about them at the time.

There were many pictures of these early caricatures and prints and of pages from the illustrated magazines, books, and comics. The author interpreted these pictures, which was nice since the political statements or cultural context would often have been lost on me. I found the information to be very interesting and easy to understand (though it's academic in tone). I'd highly recommend this book to those interested in illustrated prints and printing in the 1800s.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

book cover
City of Light, City of Poison
by Holly Tucker

ISBN-13: 9780393239782
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Released: March 21, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Appointed to conquer the “crime capital of the world,” the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light.

La Reynie unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic—not even the Sun King. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris’s most illustrious churches and cathedrals.

From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie’s compulsive note-taking, as well as on letters and diaries.

My Review:
City of Light, City of Poison is a true crime book about a rash of poisonings that occurred in Paris in the 1670s. The book started by describing how violent Paris could be and how the first police chief of Paris cleaned up and lighted the city along with other efforts to reduce crime. Then a good bit of the book was about the king's various mistresses and the political maneuvering of certain people who played a role in the later trials.

The author used information in the interrogation transcripts to also describe the activities of various main players in the poisoning scandals--the women supplying the poisons and the high-class women who bought their poisons, love potions, or spells. She described the questioning of these people in detail, including grisly details about their torture. Finally, even the king's mistresses were being accused of using the spells. The king didn't want these accusations getting out, so all records of the affair were destroyed--or so he thought. We're told how these records survived so that the book could even be written.

I had thought the book would be more about how the early police conducted investigations, but apparently that involved arresting suspects, putting them in unpleasant prison cells, and eventually questioning them. They did have some crude tests to identify any potential poisons that were found, but autopsy was pretty limited in its usefulness in terms of identifying death by poison. I could have lived without learning the graphic details about the torture involved. Other than that, though, it was written in an interesting way and I'd recommend the book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Container Gardens by Southern Living Magazine

book cover
Container Gardens
by The Editors of Southern Living Magazine

ISBN-13: 978-0848745813
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Oxmoor House
Released: March 7, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description from Cover:
Over 200 Fresh Ideas for Indoor and Outdoor Inspired Plantings. Lack of space? Lack of time? No gardening experience? Need inspiration? Is it the doldrums of winter? No matter the issue, Southern Living magazine has the answer to make sure everyone has a beautiful garden year-round with the brand's newest book on container gardening. Container Gardening is a smart and sensible guide that covers the basics for the beginner as well as inspirational ideas for the experienced gardener. There are step-by-step techniques and tips on planting and care for indoor and outdoor container gardens.

My Review:
Container Gardens discussed indoor and outdoor container gardening, though the focus was mainly on outdoors. It's written for people in the South, zones 6-10, though much of the advice would be relevant anywhere. The book covered how to select containers, using potting soil, and choosing and arranging the plants. There were many pictures showing various arrangements along with the information about which plants were used. This would be a great book if you want advice or ideas on how to arrange the plants and the containers to best effect.

For outdoors, they talked about hanging pots, window boxes, on porches and such, on pedestals, on walls, and using a trellis. They talked about annual and perennial plants (including bulbs), small woody plants, and (briefly) succulents. For indoors, they mainly told you what plants might do well indoors and how to arrange these plants to look pretty. They very briefly talked about terrariums, air plants, and topiaries. Indoor ideas took up 32 pages, edible plants took up 42 pages (mainly listing information you'd find on a seed package), and outdoor plants took up 107 pages.

The book made container gardening sound like a breeze, but I already know it isn't that easy. I was disappointed that I didn't glean much to help with the problems I've had with growing perennial herbs in containers. Part of the problem is that I'm aiming for the long-term and this book focused on arrangements intended only for a season (like Fall) or, at most, Spring to Fall.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.